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Wednesday, February 3, 2021

Reflection Paper: With: Reimagining the Way You Relate to God. By Skye Jethani

Darrell Wolfe

February 7, 2021

The Spirit-Formed Life (BIBM1301)

The King’s University, Southlake, Texas

Reflection Paper: Jethani, Skye. With: Reimagining the Way You Relate to God. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2011.

Percentage Read: 100% 

Content Summary

Rather than a Life UNDER, OVER, FROM, or FOR God (all results of the fall in Eden), we are called to a Life WITH God, expressed through FAITH, HOPE, and LOVE (Jethani, 2011, xi). As a result of the fall in Eden, we find ourselves in four default anti-postures in our relationship to God. These postures are driven by the chaos we experience, which brings danger, which causes fear, which causes us to seek ways to control our environment (18, 124).

A Life Under God is when “faith gets reduced to dogmatism” and “morality slips into moralism” (31). We seek to control our environment, and limit dangerous chaos, by being good Christians, earning God’s protection (37). A Life OVER God is one in which God himself is largely irrelevant, but he gave us a book with tools and principles to live by. His word is Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth (50-51). A Life FROM God seeks to “use him to achieve… desires”, he is a means to an end (68). It may be as obvious as greed or as innocent-sounding as wanting God to help with a bad situation (68). But if we only turn to him to get a desire met, it is a Life FROM God posture (68-69). A Life FOR God is the most subtly devious. It seeks to find meaning or worth in what we accomplish for God; our acts of service and our mission (84).

Life WITH God is where God himself becomes the treasure that we seek. When we have a proper vision for who God is, the treasure that he is, and because he is WITH us, we have FAITH which removes us from the fear cycle. We surrender to Him, which brings safety from the chaos, and FAITH to surrender more (124). As we see him WITH us in the storm as Jesus was WITH his disciples in the boat, we begin to have HOPE anchor our soul against the storm’s chaos and fear cycles. With FAITH and HOPE, we can “be still and know” that He is God (Psalms 46:10). This stillness allows us to reflect on his LOVE for us, and that LOVE for us becomes the driving force of our lives. Silence gives way to wonder, which allows for discovering more about God, and this leads to joy and even laughter (166). All the striving of a Life UNDER, OVER, FOR, and FROM God fall away in his presence. Rather than self-image being that of a Sinner, Manager, Consumer, or Servant; we simply become a Son, and that is enough (170).

Personal Reflection

Even as I sit and ponder the questions from the appendix, I feel restless in the stillness. Rather than comforted by his presence I feel the push to do more, get more done. On the other side of the To-Do list is the reward of satisfaction that I accomplished things today, this month, this year. If I engage the right principles (OVER), I can make God happy (UNDER), I can earn his blessings (FROM), and reap the rewards of accomplishment from which I derive meaning and value (FOR). I am so busy working FOR God, that I have largely neglected my time WITH God. Even my downtime this summer with two broken legs allowed me to get more reading and writing “accomplished”. When I allow this to go on too long, it is then that FEAR is driving me to accomplish more, lest my good deeds and hard work go unrewarded. The presence of FEAR or uneasiness inside stillness is a red flag that you are not living a centered life. If one cannot be still, they are mentally/emotionally ill. Yet, I have learned this lesson a thousand times. It is the stern warning of the New Testament, “Strive… to enter his rest” (Hebrews 4:11). This is the only thing we are asked to strive for, to enter his rest. I used to end my blog posts with “#BeStillBeLed”, as a reminder to do just that. Enter his rest.

Jethani asks: “Can you think of a time when ‘the coin dropped’ and a different understanding of God was illuminated to you (187)?” In 2013, on Gateway Church’s Freedom Ministry website, there were videos posted by Bob Hamp, LMFT and Pastor called “The Foundations of Freedom”. These five (now six) Foundations of Freedom videos forever changed how I saw myself living out of God’s Kingdom. The parable of the acrobat taught me that I was orphaned and raised in an environment that is not conducive to my created nature. When I learn who my real Father is, everything I was destined to be will make sense. All the struggles that got me in trouble were the result of using my God-given talents in the wrong environment. I learned that I did not understand freedom because just like when someone loses their glasses, the thing they have lost is the thing that is needed to find the thing that is lost. I must surrender to allow God to make me free, and in doing so, I will begin to see freedom for what it is a matter of “who” not “what” (Galatians 5:1). I learned to stop striving to do “a better knowledge of good”. All questions about behavior, thoughts, and actions which are deemed “good” or “bad”, derive from the wrong tree, the Tree of Knowledge. Put another way, “Jesus didn't come to make bad people behave better, he came to make dead people alive” and "Freedom is not the absence of something, it's the presence of Someone”; frequent quotes by Bob Hamp, Founder of Think Differently Academy.

I cut my teeth in the halls of Kenneth Copeland Ministries, where I learned to use Faith as a tool to accomplish. This only further solidified in me the four anti-postures. As I have meditated on “faith” through Jethani’s book and through the Naked Bible Podcast by Dr. Michael Heiser; I have begun to see “faith” as a believing loyalty in someone, rather than a vague belief in ideas or as a tool to be used. This faith in someone who is WITH me allows hope to anchor my emotions when turmoil comes and it immerses me in God’s love for me and his other children. Perfected love casts out fear (1 John 4:18). When my spouse died, June 25, 2018, it was the Foundations of Freedom experiences that gave me the tools to walk through those waters WITH God. I then took that courage and hope to other widow(er)s. Enough time has passed that I needed the reminder to slow down, be still, and know that he is WITH me.

Reimagining the future, I see two prongs that both require intentionality. On one side, I see my vertical relationship WITH God. I desire to reinvest in practices that will foster an awareness of his presence WITH me. I have several that have worked over the years, and as Jethani points out, silence is one of them (166). I come to Him to see what he would say to me; what he wants to talk about; rather than with my agenda.

On the other side, I see the prong I have neglected for far too long, but I am working on these past few years: being WITH God’s people. The best way for me to hear God is to hear God’s voice through his people, with whom I am in relationship. It was men and women of God speaking his words to me, and my being open and vulnerable with them, that allowed me to receive the most significant healing seasons in my life. A Sunday morning spectator service will not accomplish this. I left behind a group of men in Texas and never found (or founded) a group here in Idaho. It is my 2021 goal to find (or create) a group of people who want to hear God together and spend time WITH God together.

I think these two prongs will be the practical tools I need to help me stay focused on a life WITH God; rather than a life OVER, UNDER, FROM, or FOR God.


Shalom: Live Long and Prosper!
Darrell Wolfe (DG Wolfe)
Storyteller | Writer | Thinker | Consultant @

Clifton StrengthsFinder: Intellection, Learner, Ideation, Achiever, Input
16Personalities (Myers-Briggs Type): INFJ


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